Mozzarella is one of God's greatest creations. The good kind is amazing, but look, we can all admit it, even Polly-O is sometimes a necessary snack.
Anyway, back to the amazing kind. A-mozza-mazing.
I recently spent some time with Chef Giulio Adriani from Forcella at his Park Avenue South location, where I watched him make mozzarella from scratch. I then proceeded to pester him for about two hours to teach me how to make it.
Then we made pizza. But I'll save that recipe for another post.
Trust me: it's hard to make mozzarella. If you are a very ambitious amateur cook, proceed to read. Otherwise, just go to your local cheese shop and buy it.
Chef Giulio gave me a little slice of wisdom, "Making mozzarella is very similar to making pizza dough. There is not an exact way to determine when the product will be ready, but only the touch of the cheese maker will recognize the right moment to interrupt the stretching part."
Obviously, this makes the perfect mozzarella pretty much akin to the holy grail. Giulio learned how to make mozzarella in Aversa, Italy, using buffalo milk. He says in America we mostly eat cow milk mozzarella, so the flavor is different, but the process is the same.
This is his best outline of how to do it.
1 pound of cheese curd for mozzarella
10 grams of Kosher Salt
1 pot water
1. Cut the curd in small pieces, very thin so that the hot water will cook it quickly.
2. Place the pieces of curd in a bowl and mix with the kosher salt.
3. Heat a pot of water to 195 degrees Fahrenheit
4. Pour water directly onto the curd until its covered entirely. Then mix with a wooden spoon, stirring clockwise.
5. After 2 minutes of stirring (good arm workout!), drain the water from the bowl.
6. Then add more water to the curd.
7. At this point the pieces of curd should stick together. If it does not, go back to step #1. (It gets easier!)
8. Ok, now be prepared because this is the least pleasant part of the experience. You need to get your fingers into the cheese. Knead it with your hands until the mixture is smooth and soft. It will be hot, so Guilio suggested having a bowl of cold water nearby so you can cool down your poor fingers in.
Congrats! The hard part is done! But there is more...
Now you have what is called "mozzatura." It's basically cheese dough. You will now have to make it into mozarella.
1. Use your hands to stretch and cut small pieces of the mixture into little balls. Pull, stretch, cut. You want little pretty balls.
2. Once you have formed it, immediately dunk it into the bowl of cold water.
3. Let it sit for at least an hour in the water.
4. Eat it. Duh.